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New figures show NZers' love of solar growing

Jeanette Fitzsimons
Government Spokesperson on Energy Efficiency


15 January 2008 Media Statement

New figures show NZers' love of solar growing

The Solar industry is experiencing a resurgence following the launch of the Government's solar water-heating programme, says Government Spokesperson on Energy Efficiency and Conservation Jeanette Fitzsimons.

"According to the latest figures from the Solar Industry Association there was a 16 percent increase in the months of September and October*, compared to 2006.

"There was an understandable flat spot immediately after the launch of the programme as it got up and running and the range of approved systems was expanded, but now things are really heating up.

"It seemed that growth in the first half of the year had slowed, but I believe many people were waiting for the full programme to come into play. Even with that factor impacting on sales, there was still an overall four percent growth over the 10 months that we have figures for.

"There have been a number of achievements so far. 13 Solar Industries Association accredited suppliers have signed up to the financial assistance scheme for homeowners. 165 plumbers have completed installation training.

"A number of building companies have signed up to the Volume Build Scheme, including franchises of Jennian Homes, who are making solar water heating a standard offer in all new homes over the next year. EECA has contractual commitments for several hundred systems in new homes, where they are most cost-effective. The new website www.energywise.govt.nz/solar provides up to date advice for homeowners on making the decision about solar.

"In addition three councils, Westland District, Waitakere City and Hamilton City, have waived consent fees to encourage installation of solar hot water systems. Building consent guidance has been published and should reduce administration and compliance costs. Other councils are also considering making consent free.

"Our first objective was to improve quality assurance, consumer information, training and cost-effectiveness. Building on that base, I expect this year will see the resurgence in solar hot water continue," Ms Fitzsimons says.

ENDS

*October figures are provisional

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